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Renaissance (Star Trek New Frontier: Excalibur, Book 10) Mass Market Paperback – August 29, 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter David is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous Star Trek novels, including the incredibly popular New Frontier series. In addition, he has also written dozens of other books, including his acclaimed original novel, Sir Apropos of Nothing, and its sequel, The Woad to Wuin.

David is also well known for his comic book work, particularly his award-winning run on The Incredible Hulk. He recently authored the novelizations of both the Spider-Man and Hulk motion pictures.

He lives in New York. --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One: Burgoyne & Selar

Selar stared at the desert in the middle of Burgoyne's living room, then looked in astonishment at the Hermat. She held their child close to her, looked as if she wanted to say something, said nothing, and instead looked back at the desert.

"Too much?" inquired Burgoyne solicitously.

Cautiously Selar walked the perimeter of the red desert sands. She felt heat radiating from the sands. A heat lamp above gave a fair approximation of a desert sun. "This," she said slowly, "is insane."

Burgoyne looked rather surprised. "I don't know why you would say that."

"Why I would say that?" The Vulcan doctor had walked around the desert and wound up back next to Burgoyne. The infant, Xyon, cooed blissfully. "Burgoyne...there is a desert...in the living room. Why is there a desert in the living room?"

"Not enough space in the den."

"That is not the point," Selar said with forced patience.

"Yes, I suspected it wasn't," Burgoyne admitted. "You don't like it?"

"That is also not the point. It has nothing to do with like or dislike. The question is why you felt a need to construct a replica of a desert in a room normally reserved for matters of socialization."

"For you."

"I do not recall asking you to construct such a thing."

"Yes, I know you didn't ask. I was doing it to try to make you feel at home."

Selar let out a long, patient, and -- ultimately -- emotionless sigh. "Burgoyne," she said finally, "we need to talk."

"All right," Burgoyne said reasonably. S/he went to a chest of drawers and pulled out a couple of large blankets. This action puzzled Selar somewhat, but things were quickly made clear when Burgoyne spread the blankets out on the sand and dropped down onto one of them. S/he patted the other one, indicating that Selar should take a seat next to hir. Selar was sorely tempted to remain standing, but decided that matters would be simpler if she just humored the Hermat for a while. So she sat on the blanket that was a few inches away from Burgoyne.

Burgoyne looked quite ready to listen to anything that Selar was prepared to say. "Go ahead," s/he prompted.

"Burgoyne," she said slowly, "first, I should acknowledge the efforts to which you have gone. Obviously, you are aware that my native Vulcan is somewhat arid and desert-like in many places. Unlike the other Starfleet personnel who are taking advantage of the cooling-off period, you have chosen not to reside in San Francisco, in proximity to the Academy. Instead, you have obtained this lovely residence here in Nevada, on a stretch of territory that is not unlike Vulcan."

"I wanted to make you comfortable."

"I know. Your attention to my comfort and to any desires that I either might have, or that you think I might have, has been very..." She cast about in her mind for the right word. "Flattering," she finally settled on. "And I have been willing to accommodate your endeavors because...frankly, I had not developed a workable strategy to the contrary. However -- "

"However what?" s/he prompted. "You can tell me anything, Selar. You know that."

"No. I do not know that," Selar replied. "There are many things that I cannot tell you because it is a waste of time. There are things that you do not wish to hear, and, therefore, you tend not to hear them."

"What sort of things? I'm listening now."

"Burgoyne..." She drew a deep breath. "I do not love you."

"Yes, you do," Burgoyne said cheerily.

Selar let the breath out, shaking her head. "You see?"

"Yes, I do see. I see that you're afraid -- "

"No. I am not afraid." She rose and walked around the interior desert, shaking her head in a combination of frustration and amusement. "I am Vulcan. I am logical. I am able to put the reasonable aspects of a relationship ahead of any foolish emotional entanglements. And, logically, it is utterly unreasonable to think that any long-term relationship between us could work."

"Excuse me, Selar," Burgoyne said, indicating the child who was happily burbling on the blanket, "but we already have a long term commitment, and that's him. He's as much my child as he is yours."

Selar was silent.

"I said, 'He's as much -- '"

"I heard you, Burgoyne," she said softly. "My hearing is quite acute, as I am sure you are aware."

Burgoyne leaned back against the nearest wall, watching Selar with open confusion. "Are you disagreeing?" s/he asked. There was something in hir tone that seemed vaguely warning.

"The child has Vulcan ears, and the face is of a generally Vulcan cast. As for his reproductive system..."

"He is singularly male. Yes, I know."

She raised an eyebrow. "You say that with a hint of regret."

Burgoyne's lips thinned. "You keep talking about how you know nothing about emotions, Selar. About how above them you are. So, if it's all the same to you, don't start attributing emotions to how I say things, considering you claim to be unfamiliar with them."

"Very well," she said. "The point is...your genetic contribution seems minimal to nonexistent."

"I'm still his father."

"And for that, you will always have my gratitude. But -- "

"Gratitude," Burgoyne interrupted her, snorting disdainfully. "You know, Selar, I'm starting to wonder if you know the meaning of the word."

"Gratitude. Noun. An appreciative awareness or -- "

"That's not what I mean and you know it!" It seemed as if Burgoyne's meticulously crafted control was starting to erode. Selar couldn't help but think that if Burgoyne was in some sort of "competition" to see who could keep themselves reserved longer, s/he didn't have a prayer. S/he was pacing furiously.

Still sitting on the floor, Xyon's attention was now caught by hir, and he watched hir as s/he moved back and forth.

"How much more do I have to be there for you? I was there for you when you were in the grip of pon farr. I was there for you, for emotional support, during your pregnancy. I saved your life -- "

"Burgoyne, I know that -- "

"Saved your life!" s/he shouted over her. "I was so linked into your mind that I fought monsters and kept you alive so that you could give birth to our son in a hostile environment -- "

"Technically, it was a single monster, not plural."

"Who cares?"

"I care. We might as well be precise."

Burgoyne covered hir face with hir hands. "Selar...does it matter whether it was one monster, two, or twenty? The point is, you owe me your life, and the life of Xyon."

"I am very well aware of that," Selar said reasonably. "But what did you expect of me, Burgoyne? Did you believe that I would come to love you because of those things?"

"I believed that, at the very least, you wouldn't reject me out of hand."

"It is not out of hand. It is..."

"What? What is it?"

Selar looked away. "Burgoyne...you want me to give something of which I am not capable."

"I don't believe that," Burgoyne said firmly. "I don't believe that you're incapable of love. Incapable of acknowledging that you are capable, perhaps, but that's as far as I'll take it." S/he shook hir head in exasperation. "You know what? I'm starting to wonder why I even bother."

"As am I," Selar said reasonably. "What did you think was going to happen here, Burgoyne?" She steadied herself. "It is my fault. You see, Burgoyne...I was operating out of gratitude. Believe it or not," she added dryly.

"Let's just say I'm skeptical," Burgoyne said, but s/he sounded uncertain.

"I agreed to come out here, to reside with you in this domicile, because I believed that you were...entitled in some way. That, after everything you had been through in connection with me and this child -- "


"Yes. Xyon." She frowned. "I know his name."

"That may be, but you never say it. You just say, 'this child.' You should refer to him by his name. It's as i


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Product Details

  • Series: Star Trek: New Frontier (Book 10)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; First Edition edition (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671042394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671042394
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 4.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,446,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Book #10, if you will, is a parallel novel to that of #9. That is to say the majority of events that take place here are in the same time frame as the previous novel, but with the other half of the New Frontier cast. What one will not find here is any mention of 2nd Officer Elizabeth Shelby, or major space faring battles. A bit of a let down if you are looking for strange new worlds.....
Like it's sister novel, the original cast of New Frontier is split into smaller original stories, each one revolving around either one or two of these characters. The most dynamic of these stories is a really richly crafted tale of Dr. Selar and Hermat Lieutenant Commander Burgoyne and the fate of their new child. The reader is exposed to both sides of parenthood and how best to raise a child with two different cultures. The baby Xyon, though Vulcan in appearance carries some of the latent qualities of the Hedrmat species and these slowly manifest over time. How Selar deals with these changes is a journey through re-self-discovery. She believes Xyon should be brought up in the Vulcan tradition, but events will soon challenge her first impressions. On the other hand, Burgoyne hirself believes that Xyon should be able to express itself, and what better way than for Burgoyne and Selar to become a family. This struggle leads both back to Vulcan where T'Pau and the Vulcan justice system decides the ultimate fate. Or does it? A great surprise appearance from a well established Trek character makes Selar face her inner most fears. Also a `gay' Vulcan debuts here and it is interesting to see the authors take on sexuality in the Trek Universe, which generally hasn't been touched by other authors.
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I have a love/hate relationship with Peter David's book...I love them so much that I can read them in one sitting, but I hate that they have to come to end. Such is the case with the new addition to the New Frontier series--itself the second portion of a trilogy that won't be completed until November (thankfully it's not a year otherwise I'd have to be seriously upset with Pocket Books). The storyline continues to follow the crew after the destruction of the Excaliber. There are only two plotlines going this time around. The first finds Selar and Burgy battling (literally and figuratively) for the future of their son. The other features the mother-daughter team of Robin Lefler and her mother, Morgan. Of the two, the vacation that Robin and Morgan takes seem the more lightweight of the two until the final fifty pages when David pulls the rug out from under the reader (to say too much would, honestly, ruin the fun).
David pays homage to the history of Trek by bringing in old characters from the past and actually making them useful to the story. The characters aren't just there for shock value but actually contribute to the plot. Especially nice is a chance to catch up with David's vision of how Scotty might turn out, trapped in the 24th century, many years after his time.
This is an enjoyable and fun novel to read. The final 50 pages are staggering in that they take some disparaging threads together and serve as the jumping off point for the final leg of the trilogy in which we will hopefully find out the fate of Captain Calhoun (I don't think for an instance he's dead) and what really happened to the Excaliber (we're told how the ship was destroyed here and it's truly a wonderful moment of revelation).
Staggering and superb, this series only gets better and better. And it only makes waiting until November that much harder.
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I've praised Peter David's "Excalibur" series left and right (see also my review of the prequel to this book, "Requiem.") "Renaissance" carries on the same great tradition and in the best of all possible worlds, gives us action, personal growth stories, examinations of alien cultures, guest stars galore, and one heck of a cliffhanger. But it's in his handling of themes that are ignored by the TV series that Peter David excels, making these among the best Trek novels ever.
Free of the restraints of television censors, David is able to examine a much-ignored theme of "Star Trek": sexual relations of the twenty-fourth century. His treatment of these subjects is always tasteful and tactful (although I'm aware that by even mentioning the subject in this review, I'm likely to turn off or even outrage a few potential readers). Much of the novel is taken up with a child-custody battle between Selar and Burgoyne--"Kramer vs. Kramer" in the 24th Century--but with the added twists of ancient Vulcan law and the examination of exactly how a hermaphrodite species treats and understands the concept of children. Add to all this a gay Vulcan, introduced as a very natural and ordinary character with the minimum of fuss. It's nuances and treatments like this that bring the Excalibur universe best into line with Roddenbury's original vision: a time in which those beliefs and lifestyles that caused societal strife today have simply ceased to be a matter for conflict four hundred years from now (which is not to say *all* problems have been solved, or it would be a short and uninteresting book!). It's a love story, it's a personal growth story, and there's even one humdinger of a very-Trekkish action sequence.
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